Monday, October 29, 2007

Bell interviews a designer

Mr. Bell was asked to interview a candidate for a position that needed OO design skills. The candidate's resume stated that, he had 7 years of rich experience in designing enterprise systems. Bell, who believes in practical ways, wanted the candidate to come up with an object model for an elevator system. The candidate walked to the white board and starts with his model:

public class Elevator {
public static void main ( String[] args ) {

At this point, Bell declared that he is done with the interview and asked the candidate whether he has any questions. The candidate replied "Whom should I contact for my salary negotiations?".

Das Boot - The Original Uncut Version

Das Boot is one of my all time favorite movies. I have seen this movie probably around a dozen times but never got bored of this. A truly amazing movie.

The theatrical version of this movie runs for 145 minutes. The Director's cut runs for 209 minutes and that's the version I own (and have seen dozen times). There is also the Original Uncut version, which runs for 293 minutes and is the complete version that ran on German television. I have never seen this version before and when I saw this DVD at Virgin stores for £12, I couldn't resist it.

I managed to watch the whole movie yesterday, in one sitting. 5 hours non-stop! Now I understand why this version is considered superior to the other versions. The extra screen time gives the director more liberty to develop the characters, which adds all the intensity that is required for the unforgettable climax.

However, I'm not sure whether I would watch this version repeatedly as I watched the other one. Five hours of viewing a strongly emotional movie makes me tired. Next time when I feel like watching the movie again, I might probably end up reaching for the shorter version DVD.

But I would recommend the longer version for everyone - at least to watch it once.

Note: It's pretty sad that there isn't an option in the Uncut version DVD to run the shorter Director's cut version. If there was such an option, I would have donated my shorter version DVD to someone!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Introducing Mr. Bell & Mr. Gem.

You know Mr. Bell. Don’t you? Probably he (or she) is called with a different name in your organization, but I’m pretty confident that every one would have met him (or her) sometime or the other.

You see, Mr. Bell is a reasonably sensible software engineer who can come up with creative solutions for simple problems and plagiaristic solutions for complex problems and hopelessly useless solutions for ReallyComplex™ problems. However his solutions and suggestions are almost always rejected by his superiors irrespective of how well or poor they are and he is powerless to do anything about it.

He does all the activities a software engineer is expected to do, including but not limited to - designing, coding, testing, writing proposals, estimating efforts, allocating tasks to his team members, conducting interviews, filling timesheets & appraisal forms. He also gives investment tips to his co-workers, helps the network administrators to differentiate between a power cable and a LAN cable, trains the managers on how to enable the ‘Out Of Office’ facility in Microsoft Outlook, assists the senior managers to change the font settings in their PowerPoint presentation and tries to explain the vice presidents about the difference between a programming language called Java and an Indonesian island with the similar name.

Being a true engineer, he also lies during the quality audits, gets unhappy with his appraisal ratings, complains about his salary once every three months, and get frustrated with the incompetent co-workers. In short, he is like Dilbert with out a tie - curved or not.

Bell has seen or involved with various incidents in his professional life, which he thinks, are really funny. He will be sharing some of those moments here in my blog.

And what about Mr. Gem? That has to wait for sometime.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

General disclaimer

Be warned. This is Quefithe, a strange and confusing land.

The blog entries here that appear real may have been altered, removed or exaggerated to varying degrees from the original incident for reasons that will go unspecified. The stories that may appear either original or fictitious could actually be entirely fictitious or entirely original or a mix of original stories with fictitious characters or fictitious story with original characters or any other possible combinations you can think of. Any indication in the content that might lead the reader to conclude the true nature of the story should be considered purely accidental and the author can’t be held liable for the understandings of the readers.

When the author says "my friend”, it might refer to the “author’s friend” or might refer to “author’s friend’s friend”. Technically, the author also qualifies as “author’s friend’s friend” and hence “my friend” might also refer to the author himself.

Conversely, when the author says “I”, it might not actually refer to the author but it might refer to "author’s friend" or to "author’s friend’s friend". And hence for the same technical reason explained above, sometimes the “I” might refer to the author himself.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Now, anybody can get to Quefithe

I’m convinced (at last) that I also should write some crap and call it my blog. Deciding what to write looks like a smaller problem when compared to deciding a name for the blog. I’m too late to join the blog bandwagon and as expected, none of the straightforward or fancy names is available for taking. One name I would love to have is Tumbolia. But, alas, no luck with that either.

I toyed with the idea of creating a portmanteau out of my name. I managed to get some words (mani+nibble = manibble, enigma + mani = engimani), but nothing convincing. My heart was with Tumbolia. I need that name or something similar - a name that represents a mysterious area with some strange and confusing property. I searched for hours & hours and ended up with nothing fruitful. I almost gave all my hope and then suddenly remembered something.

Few years ago:
I was solving a crossword puzzle for a competition and one of the clues read
Down: Crow in Quefithe (7)
Crow in what? I couldn’t make head or tail of it and I was wondering if there is a way to create a 7 letter word out of this. No luck and so started to google around. I ended up at here that had the following text.
As quoted in Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman, by James Gleick, from introduction to Predrag Cvitanovic, Field theory (Nordita, January 1983). The original book is nearly impossible to get classic, unless a field-theory friend of yours has a copy, but a web version is available.

Once (and it was not yesterday) there lived a very young mole and a very young crow who, having heard of the fabulous land called Quefithe, decided to visit it. Before starting out, they went to the wise owl and asked what Quefithe was like.

Owl's description of Quefithe was quite confusing. He said that in Quefithe everything was both up and down. If you knew where you were, there was no way of knowing where you were going and conversely, if you knew where you were going, there was no way of knowing where you were. . . .

Clearly, if they were ever going to learn anything about Quefithe, they had to see it for themselves. And that is what they did.

After a few years had passed, the mole came back. He said that Quefithe consisted of lots of tunnels. One entered a hole and wandered through a maze, tunnels splitting and rejoining, until one found the next hole and got out. Quefithe sounded like a place only a mole would like, and nobody wanted to hear more about it.

Not much later the crow landed, flapping its wings and crowing excitedly. Quefithe was amazing, it said. The most beautiful landscape with high mountains, perilous passes and deep valleys. The valley floors were teeming with little moles who were scurrying down rutted paths. The crow sounded like he had taken too many bubble baths, and many who heard him shook their heads. The frogs kept on croaking "It is not rigorous, it is not rigorous!" . . . But there was something about the crow's enthusiasm that was infectious.

The most puzzling thing about it all was that the mole's description of Quefithe sounded nothing like the crow's description. Some even doubted that the mole and the crow had ever gotten to the mythical land. Only the fox, who was by nature very curious, kept running back and forth between the mole and the crow and asking questions, until he was sure that he understood them both. Nowadays, anybody can get to Quefithe--even snails.
I got the 7 letter word I was looking. Mission accomplished and I moved on to the next clue and this Quefithe got erased from my brain for ever.

Or that’s what I thought. But it seems that it was hidden somewhere deep inside my brain all these days and it popped-out at the right time. Back then, I couldn’t understand anything from this text. I found that text again and I don’t understand anything now either. But it sounded interesting, especially the text highlighted with red color.

Quefithe – It is mysterious. It sounds strange. And it is pretty confusing as well. Also I like the idea of things looking very different when viewed by different people and from different angles. It’s not as good as Tumbolia, but its close. I’ll settle for Quefithe, for now.

Welcome to Quefithe. And don't worry, I won't write a thing about Quantum Field Theory. I promise.

Tumbolia: From the book Gödel, Escher, Bach by Douglas Hofstadter - Tumbolia is "the land of dead hiccups and extinguished lightbulbs", "where dormant software waits for its host hardware to come back up". It is where dreamed characters go when the dreamer wakes up.

For people who haven’t read this book: I strongly recommend it. That is the best way to impress people when they ask for your favorite book. And just in case if you are lucky enough to understand the contents, can you please come back and explain to me what is that all about?